Postal delays are causing people in Moray to miss hospital appointments.
Labour councillor for Elgin North, Sandy Keith, has received complaints from several constituents saying their letters arrived after the date for their patient consultations.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) says Royal Mail’s restructuring of the service has seen longer delivery routes brought in.
However postal workers are not given any more time to deal with the extra workload.
Royal Mail apologised to those experiencing problems with the service.
They said the issue is down to a larger than usual number of vacancies, and efforts are ongoing to recruit more workers.
Mr Keith said: “I know myself I’m not getting a regular daily delivery.
“It comes about once a week, and that seems to be common for lots of folk.
“And people have been missing medical appointments because of it.
“By the time they get their letter through the appointment’s been and gone, and it’s a problem for patients.
“This is not an attack on the posties themselves, they are doing a job in difficult circumstances.
“But routes are not being covered properly.”
Roz White, chairwoman of the Highland branch of the CWU said the problem related to Royal Mail’s restructure of the business.
It means posties are expected to deliver more letters and parcels over longer routes in less time.
She said: “Hundreds of working hours are being cut.
“Postal workers are doing their best to deliver as much mail as they can possibly get through under adverse conditions.
“The current management approach is aggressive, confrontational and anti-cooperation, even when it’s not in their best interest.
“It means postal workers are demoralised and overworked.
“This is a nationwide problem.
“I’ve seen mail centres up and down the country with trolley after trolley sitting waiting for someone to deliver it.”
A spokesperson for Royal Mail apologised to those having problems with the service.
They said: “We are sorry to residents in the area who have experienced delays.
“Improving our quality of service is our top priority and we are committed to restoring service levels to where our customers expect them to be.
“The service in the area have been impacted by higher levels of vacancies than usual.
“Recruitment is ongoing with new members of staff beginning soon which will help with the current level of demand.
“We can report that there has been a noticeable difference in the service in recent weeks.
“Delays are being kept to a minimum and anyone who does not receive their mail on the day they expect will always be prioritised the following day.”
“Across our business we have similar plans in place to drive service levels, we hope and expect to see further progress in the coming months.”